Yesterday I had to go out to the pharmacy, so I drove up to SuperU, which was advertising a special price on a 6-bottle case of champagne for 60 € —20 € off. It was too good to pass up. The store was a zoo (sometimes we call it SuperZoo), as it can be on the first day of a sale during the holidays. I spent 10 minutes looking in the wine section for the half-case of champagne I wanted to buy, but couldn't find any anywhere.
The latest SuperU advertising flyer features macarons and champagne on the cover
No luck, except that another store employee happened by, pushing a cartload of cardboard boxes. I stopped her, carefully stared into her eyes and said Bonjour to get on her good side (you have to do that) and asked her for assistance. She looked around for a while, but she couldn't find the advertised champagne either. Single bottles of the same champagne were on the shelves for about 17 € per bottle.
Finally, the second employee went to find a third one. It was a young man this time. I explained the situation to him. "Oh, wait here," he said, "I haven't yet had time to bring that champagne out to the floor. I'll go see if I can find some." It didn't take him very long. He was all smiles, and I made sure I was smiling too, as I thanked him.
Walt just read this really fine print on the SuperU advertising flyer that we received this week:
« Si un article venait à manquer, veuillez le commander à notre point accueil, ce produit ou un produit similaire vous sera fourni dans les meilleurs délais au prix de l'actuelle publicité (sous réserve de disponibilité chez le fournisseur). Offres valables pendant les dates indiquées dans ce document sous réserve d'erreur d'impression. Chaque magasin se réserve la possibilité de ne pas faire droit à la demande d'un client qui ne correspondrait pas aux besoins normaux d'un consommateur. »
“If an item happens to be unavailable, please place an order for it at our customer service desk [and] the item or a similar item will be furnished as soon as possible at the price announced in the current advertising flyer (unless it is not available from the supplier). Special offers are valid for the dates indicated in this document except if there has been a printing error. Each store reserves the right to refuse to honor the requests of a customer that are not deemed to correspond to the normal needs of a consumer.”
Quails or a chicken for the New Year's holiday...
So we're right back where we started from, really. You'd have to be really determined to get the product at the advertised price before you'd be willing to go stand in line at the customer service desk and place an order for it. At least I would. And you have to know that the law requires the store to accommodate you. There's a good chance you'd be told that item was no longer available from the supplier.
At Grand Frais in Vierzon, there were no turkeys available at the low advertised price, but there were plenty available at twice that price. That's enough to make you suspicious that the advertising was a bait-and-switch trap. It probably wasn't, but I wasn't about to make a second trip to Vierzon to get a turkey, anyway. It's just too far.
...or duck — fresh or cooked into confit, your choice
Over at the Intermarché supermarket across the river in Noyers, I long ago gave up hope of ever actually finding the advertised specials available at the meat counter. So many times I tried, only to be told to come back later in the week because they might get a new supply. Might... Nobody ever volunteered the information that I could place an order and get the advertised price for the same or a similar item.
I've always had much better luck at SuperU in Saint-Aignan. Yesterday at SuperU they had chapons (which are capons — fattened chickens — in English) the size of a turkey on special at about the same price advertised by Grand Frais for those dindes blanches, so I bought one of those. With that and the champagne, I'm happy! We'll have a capon sometime later this winter, and the champagne will get us through special occasions over the next 12 months.